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UnitedHealth settles misstating executive compensation allegation with the SEC – Use their PHR?

Posted Dec 23 2008 2:38pm

In a related story today an article discusses their new portal that has plans to be incorporated with QuikenHealth in 2009 and will become a Microsoft HealthVault Partner. 

If it is connected with HealthVault for the convenience of importing claim and other information, that portion could be good as the patient is in control, but I would not want the site to be my primary storage site, let’s say if I wanted to add additional information, I would feel more secure using the HealthVault at that point as I would be in control over what is shared and viewed. 

It is interesting how all the various other PHR programs keep coming right back to inter-operate with either Google Health or Microsoft HealthVault in one form or another.   Aetna has already announced working with HealthVault as well.  As noted, some are already objecting to the site’s use of advertising which will be used to promote enrollment in insurance plans as well as a few other items listed. 

“Optum's Web site will be used as a vehicle to promote United's medical insurance as well as dental and vision products. The company also will sell advertising space on the site. "That could be a problem," Darling says. The company, she suggests, should screen advertisers to ensure that pharmaceutical companies don't use the site to promote their products, for example. Such advertisers should be a concern for a portal operated by a health plan or health plan subsidiary, adds Marsha Dolan, associate professor in the Dept. of Nursing at Missouri Western State University. While searching for information about a chronic illness on a competing Web portal recently, Dolan says, an advertisement for a medication for that condition popped up. "To a consumer, it could seem like [the Web site operator] is promoting that drug," she says.”

Back to the SEC portion of the post, what took so long, since this violation occurred from 1994 through 2005 for the SEC to resolve the investigation?  What types of records had to be reviewed, paper or did all the reports need to be printed if the SEC could not audit electronically?  Usually insurance companies and investors have the top of the ladder technology so was it the SEC not using an electronic audit process?  Just questions that came to this geek’s mind as I was pondering why this took so long with today’s electronic highway we have and why were portions executive compensation hidden for10 years.   QuickBooks – Securities and Exchange Version next?   Right now with transparency and who at the top was being compensated and how much is top discussion for many consumers and shareholders.  BD   

UnitedHealth Group agreed to settle charges that it violated the reporting, books and records and internal controls provisions of federal securities laws, without admitting or denying the allegations or paying a monetary penalty, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which filed the settlement.

In a separate settlement with the SEC, David Lubben, former UnitedHealth Group general counsel, consented to an antifraud injunction, a $575,000 penalty and a five-year officer and director bar. Lubben also admitted to no wrongdoing as part of the agreement.

"UnitedHealth engaged in a long-running scheme to hide over a billion dollars in executive compensation,” said Linda Chatman Thomsen, director of the SEC's enforcement division, in a written statement. “By materially misstating these expenses for over a decade, UnitedHealth breached its duty to shareholders to accurately report its financial results."

http://www.modernhealthcare.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081222/REG/31222996

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